To understand better the mechanisms by which thyroid hormone can exert its effects on the hair follicle, we looked for the expression of members of the thyroid hormone receptor (TR) family in human hair follicles. Immunoreactive TRs were detected in both dermal and epithelial compartments of the human pilosebaceous unit. Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we established that TRbeta1 was the predominant form of TR expressed in the human hair follicle. In addition, we investigated the effects of 3,3', 5-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) on the survival of human hair follicles in vitro, to understand the role of this thyroid hormone on hair follicle homeostasis. A physiological level of free T3 significantly enhanced human hair survival in vitro.